The Foretaste at Cana
On Sunday, we started our new series on the miracles of Jesus, and we looked at his first public miracle: turning water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11).
As we looked at this first miracle, we noticed the immediate need surrounding the occasion. Wine at the wedding feast had run out, and Jesus, because of who he is, had the ability to help the groom, who was financially responsible for the feast, to avoid embarrassment (Or worse: the possibility of a lawsuit just because the wine had run out). But beyond the immediate need, Jesus took advantage of the occasion to point to something far greater than six 30-gallon jugs of water miraculously being transformed into wine.
Just as Jesus used wine at the start of his public ministry, he used wine at the very end of his public ministry, too. If we fast forward to the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested in order to be crucified, we'll find Jesus using wine, once again, to institute the Lord's supper (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20). It's as if Jesus chose wine as the bookends to his public ministry! In those moments before being betrayed and arrested, he used wine to symbolize the cost of humanity's redemption: His own innocent blood as the means by which our sins would be forgiven. And from then on, across two millennia of church history, all those who have followed Christ have consumed the bread and the fruit of the vine to remember how our Lord accomplished redemption for us. Simply put, Jesus used wine to signal and point to our salvation by means of his New Covenant blood (1 Corinthians 11:25; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34).
Not only this, but if we continue to fast forward through the history of redemption to the glorious day when Jesus will welcome all believers to himself, we will find ourselves with Jesus at our own wedding feast! The Apostle John writes about our future feast with these words:
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9)
This points back to when Jesus instituted the Lord's supper just prior to his crucifixion and said, "I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom" (Matthew 26:29). In other words, Jesus is anticipating the great day when we, his church—the bride of Christ—will finally be joined to him in his heavenly kingdom! On that day, we will feast and drink and rejoice with our Savior! In this way, the wine in Jesus' first miracle points us forward not only to his New Covenant blood, through which our sins are washed away, but also to our future, blessed union with him in heaven. The wine in the miracle is a foretaste of far greater things to come!
I hope all of this serves to increase your longing and desire for the glorious things to come. I also hope it serves to whet your appetite more and more for Christ and to hunger and thirst after him. When we read about Jesus' first miracle, I hope it teaches us to participate in communion (The Lord's supper) with great anticipation of the day when we will finally be joined to our Redeemer for all eternity. Similarly, when we read about Jesus' first miracle, I hope it fills our hearts with great hope as it points us forward to the day when we will celebrate our eternal wedding to Jesus and the things of this earth will no longer inhibit our relationships with him.
Yes, Jesus served a need through his first miracle—he helped a groom save face. And yes, the miracle reveals certain things about who Jesus is—the Sovereign Lord who has power over all creation and the compassionate Lord who provides abundantly. But let's not miss what his first miracle is pointing forward to. And let's be encouraged to live with joyful anticipation and desire of the glorious things to come!
“Yes, I am coming soon," Jesus says to us in Revelation 22:20. Therefore, "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life" (Revelation 22:17). "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
I can't wait! Can you?